Monday, June 22, 2015

The Anti-Father's Day

I love to take a few minutes each day & just kinda scroll through Facebook.  I love looking at people's pictures, reading from some of my favorite political blogs, funny memes, and even taking a few, some, OK, a lot of those stupid quizzes by buzzfeed.  There are a few times of year that I've decided I don't like getting on Facebook, and Father's Day is one of them.  One thing before I go any further, Hopson thinks Facebook is from the devil.  (He feels that way about Instagram, SnapChat...really all forms of social media.  I think there are days he wished I didn't blog, he hates it when I write about him.) 

I didn't post pictures of Hopson yesterday for Father's Day.  I didn't post pictures of my dad for Father's Day & I didn't post pictures of my father-in-law, Walter, for Father's Day.  You know why?  Because I think Mother's and Father's Day are stupid holidays.  There I said it!  Whew!  And you know what, I really do think that.  Why do we need to set aside to show our appreciation to parents?  It's like me expecting Hopson to show me more love on Valentine's Day...ugh, I hate it.  

For 23 years I have not had a flesh and blood dad.  He's been gone more years than he was part of my life.  Yes, I understand that's depressing.  Yes, I know that he still loves me, but it's just not the same as hearing it come from his own lips.  I do have a wonderful father-in-law who loves me & I know prays for me, by name, everyday.  What more could a daughter ask for?

So this Father's Day, I'm giving the men I love the most, nothing.  No pictures of you with our children, and no cards or words saying how you are the greatest dad.  No showers of gifts.  Just another day of you doing what you do best:  being a man and showing our children what a man and dad should be.   I hope the gifts we give you daily are the ones you love the most.  May we bring you honor, make you feel loved & be a blessing to you.  

Celebrating Life!
~ashley   

    

Monday, June 15, 2015

Good Grief Charlie Brown

Several of my posts have been very serious and, hopefully, a little thought provoking lately & so I'm offering my humiliation up to make y'all laugh.  Laughter is good for the soul.  “Life is worth living as long as there's a laugh in it.”  ~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

I spend just a little bit of time sitting.  I sit when I work; I sit when I sub; I sit when I'm driving children all over the place; and I sit when I write.  It's amazing that my behind is not flat as a pancake.  This is not really about my behind, it's about my new desk chair.

I've wanted one for some time now, but just now purchased it.  It doesn't go with my decor or other furniture at all, but I don't care.  It's an exerball chair.  I like it a lot except for one thing, it's not made for short people.  When I first put the chair together, well, when Henry fixed what I had messed up, I was so excited, but noticed it sat kind of low to the ground.  I was not to be deterred.  I'm going to use this chair & love this chair.

This chair is good for me; it's good for my core.  Now, I can't see over the desk, but no worries.  (I exaggerate, I could see over the desk, but it was even with my armpits.)  I had to stretch my arms to use the keyboard to my computer, but that's the price of doing business.  I blew up the ball a little more and that helped a lot, but I figured that I was going to have to keep blowing it up to keep it tall.

I had an epiphany of how I could make myself really tall on my new chair.  I decided to put a pillow on top of the exerball.  Yeah, that will work.  Hopefully my feet will touch the ground, but yeah this is a great idea.  This is going to work great!  I'm pumped & can't wait to try this out.

Did I mention that the chair has wheels?

So I put the pillow on top of the chair.  I'm loving this idea.  I'm pretty clever, and resourceful, and I'm caring about my body.  I'm going to be able to see and reach everything on my desk.  Yeah, this is a rockin' idea!  Yea me!!!  Until...I go to sit on the stupid chair.  With wheels.  Did I mention the wheels?

So, I go to sit on the pillow, on top of the ball & it proceeds to roll, very quickly, right out from underneath me.  I hit the floor pretty hard and felt like Charlie Brown when Lucy steals the ball away from him when he was trying to kick it.  Can you say total dork?  Yeah, that was me.  I decided to lay on the floor for a bit.  It actually felt good.  The dogs were the only ones who witnessed my humiliation and came and licked my face to show support and love, which was both very sweet and gross at the same time.  I'm still going to try to use the pillow, but will be very careful when I climb onto my chair.

Celebrating Life & laughing at myself,
~ashley      

Thursday, June 11, 2015

When a Heart Breaks

Somebody write it down, I'm blogging two days in a row.  So much is going through my melon & this is my therapy.  Well, this and getting my hair done, but this is free.  Hopson likes free, but my hair does look much better.  Anyway...

Last year some of E's friends had a lyrical dance to the song "When a Heart Breaks" by Ben Rector.  (here's a cool remake that's acca-awesome.)  This song is one of my faves, although I would change one of the lyrics.  When you hear it you'll know which one I mean.

Have you ever had events in your life where you have literally felt your heart break?  The, I just need to lay down and wish the earth would swallow me whole, kind of breaks?  I have, and this song just speaks to my soul.  I have felt almost every emotion he talks about.  If you haven't been through something that shatters your heart, prepare yourself because it's coming.  None of us escape it, because we live in a fallen creation.  Fallen, but not forgotten, and not without hope.

Yesterday I wrote about how I love the town I live in.  I do love my city, but there has been so much heartbreak lately.  It feels like it just heaps upon itself.  Children getting sick; freak tragedies happening; parents passing away; heartbreak upon heartbreak upon heartbreak.  Heartbroken, but not forgotten, and not without hope.  Hope is a good thing, especially when you have a broken heart.

The girls took this dance to competition this year, and since they did, they also performed it in this  year's recital.  During dress rehearsal,  another mom and I sat there and cried when we watched the girls dance.  Her heart was broken, and this song touched her, here and now, but the song makes me remember.

When you experience a heartbreak it doesn't ever go away, it just becomes part of who you are.  If you let it, it can consume you or you can use it as part of your testimony.  Can you still claim that God is bigger even when the outcome you hoped and prayed for doesn't happen.  It's a sobering thought, and not one I like to dwell on.  What I do know is that God is bigger no matter the outcome.

Let your heartbreak help and bring comfort someone else.  Allow yourself to become hands and feet, and show the love of the one who brought us hope.  Remember that He cried when Lazarus died, and He knew what was about to happen.  Remember we have a hope that is eternal and has power behind it.  It's the power to take a broken heart and piece it back together so it can be used for a better purpose.

Celebrating life, broken hearts, and hope,
~ashley

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

#lovethistown

There are days I really love the town I live in and at the same time really hate it.  Even though it's a midsize city, it can be like living in a small town.  Everyone knows your business.  And, everyone is willing to crawl all up in it and share it with everyone.  It can be a real big pain in the behind.

Except for days like today.  It's today that I remember why I live here.  It's days like today when I cry because I live in a community that surrounds, loves, and takes care of its own.  (We will love you to death if you let us.)  I remember that I live in a place where we'll hit our knees for you in a heartbeat, bring you dinner (thankfully I didn't mix the tomatoes with anything else), clean your house, take your kids where you need them to be, and bug you to let us do more for you!

Those of you who live here know what I'm talking about, and you're probably laughing and shaking your head.  It's a well oiled machine, and we run it like no body's business.  It's also really fun to see everyone's gifts.  We all have different ones & it's during this time that they shine.

I'm so glad I know people who love to bake, because I am horrible at it.  I love people who are super crafty and make anything they do look beautiful.  I love people who have the gift of empathy and are willing to help others carry their burdens.  I love the bossy people who are so organized that they laugh in the face of a mountain of tasks.  I love the encouragers, because they drink from the cup that is half full and help you look from a different perspective when you need to.  Of course I love people who can make a mac daddy meal.  During a crisis they will make you something magical & you decide you may never cook again.  You have those that you are certain have a direct line to God's ear.  Technically, we all do, but you think they may be one of His faves.... They are the ones you want laying hands on you and praying.  You have the joyful ones that just make you laugh even when you're going through hell, and you have those you know you can call on to cry with you when you need someone to cry with you.

Yeah, we got'em all right here, in my town.  If you don't have a bunch of busy body, up in your face people in your town, I'm so sorry.  While there are a few days a year I want to crawl into a cave and live life as a hermit, I have to admit that I love my town & I love my people.  We're really more like family.

So, Rebel fam, good night, God bless, and good job today!  Keep praying and loving each other.

Celebrating life!
~ashley

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Yeah, We're THOSE Parents

Today I was reading a few posts on Facebook.  Yes, I still get on it.  Yes, I like it, a lot.  I'm also my daughter's secretary & administrative assistant, so I have to get on to update her business page.  :)  There has been some chatter about cell phones and social media on Facebook the last few days.

ESPN did a story about Madison Holleran, a U of Penn runner that committed suicide.  Everyone was shocked because on her Instagram page she looked so happy.  Hey everyone, news flash here, most people only let you see their "good side" on social media.  Do I post pics of myself or my fam looking bad?  Of course I don't.  (well, except when I posted one of Henry getting his braces & he had that mouth thing in, but it was hilarious!)  Do I want people to think I've got it all together all the time?  Of course I do!  For those of you who already didn't know, social media is not real life.  For those who post selfies, how many do you have to take until you get the "perfect" one?

I mentioned above that I really like social media.  You know why?  I can see pictures and videos of friends and their children.  I can find a good _________ (fill in the blank) in my town.  I can sell things on FB trading sites.  It's great.  There are lots of pitfalls as well.  Social media will suck your time down a black hole.  It can make you feel "less than" others.  It can make you feel left out and unloved by friends, or you can find out people you thought were friends are not really friends at all!  And that last sentence is the most hurtful of all!

I'm about to tell you a little about how Hopson & I parent, so if you don't want to read it, just skip to the last paragraph.  If you're interested or just a little curious, by all means, read on!  We are strict about cell phones & social media.  There are some rules that we have that we don't bend on, and we have very specific reasons behind them. So, here you go.

Cell phones:

  • If you are a child in our home, you don't get a cell phone until you turn 12.  Would it have been better for Henry to have one at 10, yes.  He's the youngest of 4 & I was driving around all over town & it would have helped if I could text him to let him know I was going to be a few minutes late, but if you're not 12, no phone, period.
  • A cell phone is not = to a smart phone.  You can have a flip phone when you turn 12, not a smart phone.  I don't care if it costs the same or less, and I don't care if you're the only person in middle school without one.  I can't think of one good reason for a tween to have a smart phone. 
  • You can get your first smart phone when you are a senior in high school.  There are several reasons for this.  
  1. You can text from a regular phone, and that's all you really need to do.  You can check email when you get home.   
  2. You need to spend more time talking face to face with your friends, not playing games or getting on YouTube or Instagram or Facebook or Snap Chat.  Look them in the eyes and converse with them, I know it's a novel idea, but you ought to try it, because it's really amazing!
  3. You're not going to use all our data up watching stupid videos or playing games when you could be talking and playing face to face with your friends.
Social media:

  • You may have a Facebook and Instagram account when you enter high school.  I will be your first friend & if you don't like it, so sorry.  (not really)  You can only get on it from a home computer anyway.  Do people really like seeing 5K duck faced selfies?  There are a lot of studies about selfies & what it's doing to this generation...makes for some interesting reading.
  • You don't need to be on social media all day.  Hence, why no smart phone until you're a senior.  I had someone tell me that they were astonished at how much time tweens and teens spend on their smart phones.  It has handicapped their social skills.  Don't believe me, just sit back and watch.  When you tell a group of teens to talk, they equate it with being on their phones.  It's like they're two years old again & are engaging in parallel play.  The whole goal when children are 2 is to help them engage in appropriate interactive play.  Playing WITH someone, not beside them.  Don't believe me, just watch.

Yes, Hopson and I realize that we are those parents.  If I've offended you with this post, first off I would tell you that what you do with your kids is your business.  Second, I would ask you why you're offended.  These are the policies for our fam.  We have found that they have helped our children be able to converse in an adult's world.  We found that it has helped them not be narcissistic & realize that the world doesn't revolve around them.  But that's another post for another time.

Celebrating life!
~ashley  

 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Coming Up for Air

It's May.  If you are a mom with multiple children at home, you know what that means.  It means it's crazy, and you don't know your name; your children's names; or really what day it is.  Most of my mom friends will tell you May is worse than December.  We all have to stick together to make it through to the last weeks of school, sports, dance, graduation etc.!

Sports teams are starting to wrap up.  If you had rain outs during your season you very well could end up with 4 games in a week...because we all have time for that.  There are team parties, coach's & team mom gifts.  Don't forget teacher gifts, dance teacher gifts, bible study leader gifts, Sunday school teacher gifts...well, you get the idea.  If you have a graduating senior, hold on tight, because it's a world wind that everyone just expects you to know about.  Parties, gifts, gifts and parties, there's a little school thrown in too.

Today, I sat down for 2 minutes and came up for a little air.  I was about to read my online hometown daily news & it dawned on me, today is May 7th.  May 7th doesn't have the dread it once did.  It's a day I have to really think about remembering.  23 years ago today my dad passed away.  You've read the story.  Wow, 23 years.  He's be dead for more years of my life than alive.  Yes, I know it's a depressing thought.  But you know what I've learned?  Life goes on.  I can sit around and wallow in my grief or I can remember him with a smile, be thankful I had as much time with him as I did, and see him reflected in the life that is around me.

First off, he and Hopson would have gotten along so well.  I could really see them doing things together.  My dad was a fixer and builder, and so is Hopson.  They both love the lake and Auburn.  I know daddy would have loved my husband.  I know he would love being around his grandchildren.  I think he would love that Hop is not afraid to branch out and try different things, that he is about to be a junior at Auburn and loving life as a college student at his alma mater.  I think he would love that Harry is going to be an Auburn freshman in the fall & would laugh at his crazy personality, and how he can work a room.  I think he would be giddy that his granddaughter, Elizabeth, is tough and sweet at the same time (and doesn't do to shabby in the classroom).  I think he would love that Henry is named after him and loves to build and fix things like he did.  I try to keep him alive to my kids.  He may be gone, but he's not forgotten or unloved.

So, now that I've come up for air, it's time to dive back into the pool & rock the rest of this month.  I do have a graduating senior... :)  Remembering with a happy heart full of love!

Celebrating life!
~ashley

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fighting & Winning

This is going to be short & sweet b/c it's April, and it's lacrosse season, and I have about a million and one things that have to be done tonight.  Know I have lots of postings rolling around in my head, but not enough hours in the day to sit down and spit them out. :)  With all that & a graduating senior that is just the way it is.

Here are a few big things:

  • 1st ~ So proud of my alma mater & my kids' high school!  They raised over $250K for Relay for Life.  That's over a quarter of a million dollars y'all!  Since both of my parents died from different forms of cancer, I'm super excited about how this money will be used for research.  Speaking of research, if you haven't seen the new immuno- treatment breakthroughs for certain kinds of brain tumors & skin cancer, google them.  Exciting things for sure.   

  • 2nd ~ I met an amazing young mom of three that has tested positive for the Alzheimer's Dominantly Inherited Gene.  You can read about Carrie here.  She is an amazing woman fighting for Alzheimer's patients everywhere.  We always think about how it's older people that suffer from Alzheimer's, but that is not the truth.  

I hope you have all thawed out from winter & are enjoying a beautiful spring.  It's been raining here so much we thought our toes were going to begin to web.  :)  I need to give 2 birthday shout outs!  1 to my sister Amy (29 & holding) & 1 to my niece LJ, who is 1 today.  Love you both bunches & hope that you have had great days.

Celebrating life & fighting hard & winning big!
~ashley